Case cooling and airflow

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Case cooling and airflow
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Chad Johnson
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May 28, 2010 - 10:54 am
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I noticed last night that my media center is running hot. I noticed the power supply fan had failed ( ) Now, while I wait for the new power supply to arrive (because the warranty ended in March.....sigh) I'm thinking I should add some more fans to this poor box.

Any recommendations for both an extra case fan or two and some hard drive coolers? Any airflow tips from anyone?

Please, thank you, and good night.

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David Hartsock
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May 30, 2010 - 9:37 am
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Water cooling FTW! OK, that's not practical.

If you have a little mechanical ability replacing the fan in the power supply isn't hard, but will involve soldering 2 wires. At the least you'll have a backup supply. Be careful not to touch any of the capacitors inside as they can store electricity for quite some time.

The most important thing is to make sure all of your case fans are moving air in the same direction. If the power supply is blowing air out the back of the case you want all fans on the back to blow air out the back, think of them as exhaust. If you have fans on the side you would want them to blow in. Bigger fans generally move as much, or more, air as smaller ones but turn slower so they are less noisy. Another important consideration for a media PC is location. If you have it in an enclosed entertainment center it isn't going to get a lot of circulation and the fans won't be able to pull in cool, fresh, air. Try to keep it in an area that will allow air circulation around the case.

Head over to Newegg.com and check the reviews for the sizes you want. This will give you an indication of how well the fan cools and the noise levels it operates at.

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Chad Johnson
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June 1, 2010 - 10:44 am
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Heh. Water cooling. i have a fun story about that I'll type up sometime.

Pulled the power supply, cleaned the dirt and grit out of it, and the fan started spinning again. Compressed Air FTW!!

Picked up a PCI slot fan from the local computer store. Put that in and it's helping my video card (a little bit).

I have two spots in the case, one in front and one in back for case fans. I'd have to dissect the case to put one up front, but I think it's the only way I can cool the hard drives. My other choice is to get a drive bay fan (mount on the front of the case in a CDROM slot).

Now airflow...I've never quite figured this one out. I currently have three fans (not counting the CPU fan which I can't easily change the direction of). My power supply pulls air in through the back and vents it out the bottom. As a result, it runs quite hot. I have a case fan on the side of the case that is blowing out (built into the case). i have the PCI slot fan that is blowing out and it is directly below the Power supply (under the graphics card which I just remembered also has a fan). So I have a spot on the back for a case fan, should that one blow in or out? I have a spot up front and can use a 5 1/4 drive bay, should that one blow in or out? I hate physics.

Oh, and my media center sits on a stand behind the TV / entertainment center. It gets warm back there, but not more than 4-5 degrees above room temperature.

And as for water cooling, after I dump the water in, how long do I wait before I can turn everything back on?

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Nightowl78
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June 1, 2010 - 9:50 pm
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Ziggie:

You stated: "My power supply pulls air in through the back and vents it out the bottom." It should be the other way, if you have a fan on the bottom of the power supply it should be pushing air "out" of the case, not pulling air in from the back. If you put a fan in the front of the case it should pull cool air "in" the case and a fan on the back of the case should push warm air "out" of the case. The air is flowing in the same direction through the case and out the back. The fan on the side of the case is fine the way it is.

Hoping this will help

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Chad Johnson
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June 2, 2010 - 8:45 am
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Ziggie:

You stated: "My power supply pulls air in through the back and vents it out the bottom." It should be the other way, if you have a fan on the bottom of the power supply it should be pushing air "out" of the case, not pulling air in from the back. If you put a fan in the front of the case it should pull cool air "in" the case and a fan on the back of the case should push warm air "out" of the case. The air is flowing in the same direction through the case and out the back. The fan on the side of the case is fine the way it is.

Hoping this will help[/quote:hevbwsb1]

Hmm.. Then maybe something is not working correctly. With the case torn apart, and the P/S fan spinning, the air is most definitely coming out the bottom of the P/S. There is very little air pushing out the back of the P/S, if any.

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Nightowl78
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June 2, 2010 - 11:27 am
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Don't know what to tell you Ziggie, but my experience is that P/S fans exhaust out the back of the case. I could be very wrong, so maybe someone else could weigh in on this. Sorry if I have given you any wrong information. The whole idea is to get the warm/hot air out of the case, which I'm sure you know.

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David Hartsock
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June 2, 2010 - 9:38 pm
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The best way to look at this is [b:31atdjy2]FLOW[/b:31atdjy2]. You want the air to flow in one direction. If the PS fan is blowing into the PS then everything in the back needs to blow in. Fans on the front need to blow out. If the PS fan blows out then fans on the back blow out and fans on the front blow in. I'm not personally a fan of side case fans as I believe it effects the internal flow.

When you have fans that aren't installed properly you create a pressurized box. Air movement is what cools. A pressurized box doesn't have any air movement, or less than optimal movement.

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Mindblower
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June 3, 2010 - 9:33 am
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On the mat, Dave is 100% correct that air [b:2jn35ogh]FLOW[/b:2jn35ogh] is the solution. One just needs to examine (take a look which means looking) parts to see logic. A heat sink pulls heat away from the CPU. A cooling CPU fan blows air directly at the CPU. Additional fans inside the computer case help circulate the air. They use the vents to draw in cooler air (and the hotter air also escapes via the vents.

As for the power supply, older units had just one fan. It was/is designed to blow air out of the case (not into the computer housing - as this would be counter productive). Newer PS have two fans. They work together to move air from within the computer case, to the outside. This is pure and simple air flow convection (for lack of something else), Mindblower!

"Light travels faster than sound;
That is why some people seem bright until you hear them speak"

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Chad Johnson
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June 3, 2010 - 2:35 pm
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Um. right.

This is my power supply: [url:39au82m0]http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?Sku=C13-2504[/url:39au82m0]. FWIW.

Thanks for your help guys, has got me thinking in the right direction I think. I'll verify for sure where my P/S fan is blowing and design around it.

Dave, should I remove the side fan?

Thanks!

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Jim Hillier
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June 3, 2010 - 5:57 pm
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Hey Zig - Stayed right out of this one....best left to the experts. But maybe this is what you need??:
[attachment=0:2qykennl]Tower2.png[/attachment:2qykennl]

LOL....Just kidding. Have a look at [url=http://tech.icrontic.com/articles/pc_airflow_heat_cooling_guide/:2qykennl]THIS ARTICLE[/url:2qykennl], which may be of some assistance. It's an oldie but sure sounds like the author knows what he/she is on about. Besides, it's quite a good read!!

Here is an extract which may be pertinent:

[quote:2qykennl]We

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David Hartsock
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June 3, 2010 - 9:30 pm
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Dave, should I remove the side fan?[/quote:19ovg96t]
It depends! (how's that for an answer?)

I have a case with a side fan, but it has a coupling to the CPU - it doesn't affect anything else. In most cases a fan on the side would pull air out before it has a chance to move over the components it is trying to cool.
[attachment=0:19ovg96t]SNAG_Program-0017.png[/attachment:19ovg96t]

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Mindblower
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June 4, 2010 - 10:05 am
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Fantastic graphics. Lest we forget, hot air rises, and cool air falls, so any mounted fans need to assist the air flow. Fans do their job by either blowing or sucking air (no pun intended), Mindblower!

"Light travels faster than sound;
That is why some people seem bright until you hear them speak"

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